The stereo sounds like an outstanding idea. If you don’t like music, I do. The reason I never liked music lessons is that I hate bad music.
Those bank drafts were not signed by Mrs. Roby. I’m positiveof that. I think they were signed Homer Hetherington, whoever the hell that is. The signature had the handwritten word “Comptroller” after it.
The bank officer at the Chase-Manhattan Bank + The Bank of America in Hong Kong looked for the signature in a big book and, obviously didn’t have it. The man at the 1st National City Bank looked in the book too. He didn’t find the signature either, but didn’t seem too worried about it.
It’s too bad about Joel’s luggage. (Lost by an airline returning from Christmas break at Lake Tahoe.) I can’t work up too much sympathy for him, though. I’ve been wearing the same set of clothes for two months now. I guess they’ve been washed twice in that time. I haven’t been able to take a bath myself for a week (too cold).
It’s real cold here. Your breath comes out as steam.
Cease fire hell! Cease fires are made up by people who haven’t heard a shot fired in anger for a decade. If I get a chance to kill some gooks, you can bet I’ll grab it. Even the officers take the truces a lot less seriously than the President and the newspapers would have you believe. Like Bob Hope said, A truce is when you don’t shoot back.”
That’s not my thing. Not only do I shoot back, I shoot first! If anybody asks, the VC shot first and we were firing in self-defense. About half of those VC truce violations” are U.S. forces getting back blood.
If you ask me we should put all the ARVNs and pro-government Vietnamese on ships in the S. China Sea, then A-bomb North and South Vietnam until nothing was left, then sink the ships!
Your pictures of Nan have made quite a hit in CAP 2. Everybody says she’s good looking, etc.
We have received the carrots, oranges, divinity, etc. Muchas gracias. The gun spray was especially helpful. I could use some Q-Tips for my ears + for my rifle.
We were paid the other day. Two days early. My pay is still screwed up, they’re paying me L/Cpl pay. I’ve been to disbursing already at HQ. I hope they get it straightened out soon. They owe me about $300.
I would laugh like hell if Joel got drafted. It would also give me great pleasure to see his spoiled buddies with boot” haircuts. They’d better all pray to God they don’t get drafted into the Marines and get me for a Troop leader. I’d love that. It’d take me about a week to make them into human worms.
Well, your last letter sounded a little pissed off because I thought you might outgrow a 20 ga. Sorry about that. I think that the 16 ga. shotgun is a good weapon for the reasons I’ve mentioned. You are welcome to your own opinion and you’ve got no reason to get excited because mine is different.
Congratulations on your shooting.
See ya later.
Dear Mom + Dad,
I’m glad to hear that somebody did enjoy the ski trip. It sounded like fun to me. I’ve almost made up my mind to go skiing for a couple of days during my leave. I assume that I’ll be able to borrow one of the cars while I’m home. I think I’m in good shape as far as the money I’ll need and I’ve written to a couple of friends who might want to go. Since I’m not sure exactly when my leave will be it’s a little hard to plan.
I finally got moved to a safer place. I’m at 2nd CAG HQs now, standing guard duty. It’s a big pain in the neck but, at least, no one is shooting at me.
I found out that I won’t be sent to Camp Lejeune after all. I’m going to the same place Will went to; the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Pendleton. California here I come!
Not much is going on around here. We’ve been stringing barbed wire in the daytime and standing guard at night. I’m gaining weight in jumps. I just can’t hack a steady diet.
I’ve been feeling sick lately. Same old thing; diarrhea, chills, fever, stomach cramps. I think I’ll have a good physical exam when I get home to make sure there’s nothing wrong with me. You know how the Marine Corps works things, if you can walk and pull a trigger, you’re healthy.
Am enclosing some negatives. Don’t know what’s on them. I should be mailing home a box of junk sometime soon.
(The following letter followed me from Vietnam to my new duty station with Range Co., Weapons Training Battalion, at Edson Range, Camp Pendleton)
Cpl. C.R. Thornton 2579640
2nd Cag, Cap 2-7-2
F.P.O. San Francisco
January 18, 1971
Dear Cpl. Thornton,
I’m not sure I was expecting a return letter from Cap 2-7-2 but when yours came I was so very glad that you had taken the time to write. And your letter was appropriate. I wasn’t looking for details about the incident … no details could make the real facts any easier to accept. But, if you can understand this, somehow there is just some consolation to be found in hearing from someone who knew Dan those last few days. Thank you so much for writing a letter that I’m sure was not easy to compose.
I appreciate your willingness to see me in person. I would always enjoy talking with someone who knew Dan. Yet your time in California is quite limited and I wouldn’t feel right in asking you to stop by, your letter already having been enough. My home is just outside of San Francisco and I’ve been under the impression that the Marines come back to the States via L.A. … ? Of course my knowledge (not to mention my understanding!) of the Military has never been very vast! So if you do come through San Francisco, and if it wouldn’t cause you too much inconvenience, my folks and I would be honored to have you to our home.
Again, Cpl. Thornton, thank you for your letter — and the best of luck to you.
Undated, rec’d by my parents on Jan. 20, 1971I wish to God I was home now and didn’t have to go through these last few days of work and guard duty. I don’t know if I can hack the plane trip to Okinawa; all the hassle and crap there, then the trip to Calif. with more hassle and crap, then the plane trip home, etc. I know people at home are going to ask a lot of stupid questions. It’s not their fault, I just don’t want to have a lot of bloody memories popping up while I’m on leave. People are going to irritate me and I won’t have the patience to put them off easily, I’ll tell them to get screwed and leave me alone. Please don’t even mention Viet Nam for a week after I get home.
I’m in poor shape physically. A year of poor diet, bad water, sickness, hard work, no sleep and tension haven weakened me. I get sick easily, no energy. It may be hard for me to get along with people. Nan, for example. How can I put up with her complaints when I’ve spent a year with people whose job is inhumanly hard, dangerous, and dirty, but they do it cheerfully? I’m tired all the time but I just keep going on. People aren’t going to understand me.
Dear Mom + Dad,
I sent off four letters yesterday to various offices at K-State. They should be sending you a lot of literature and forms. Keep it for me. I’ll make all my applications, etc., when I get home on leave.
According to “Playboy” magazine, 8-track tapes have poor quality sound and are unecessarily expensive and inconvenient. The small cassette players are supposedly the wave of the future.
I hope you can see me on the Bob Hope Show. I think chances are that I did get on film. The camera was level with me and seemed to be pointed at me a couple of times.
I don’t think they’ll send me right home when I get back to California. Everybody says we’ll spend two or three days in California before going home. (The “Word” was wrong, as usual. My 30 days post-Viet Nam leave began as soon as I stepped off the plane in California.)
June is the magic word around here as far as the Marines leaving Viet Nam. It doesn’t make any difference to me.
Yes the people sometimes eat dogs. More often in the north and the rural areas. They also eat snails and body lice. Snails aren’t bad.
I hope the high school has sent my transcript and ACT scores to K-State.
Not much going on here. Most of my old buddies from CAP School are here. Ninety percent of them are corporals too; and I thought I was something special!
I have had a bad cold lately. Hope it goes away before my flight date. A corpsman cut open a cyst on my neck today, caused by an insect bite I guess. The pain is much relieved.
The days are going slowly now that the end is near. My memories of life at home are all very vague. Maybe at this time next year, Viet Nam will seem like a dream, too.
Will quit for now.